By Butrus Ajak*
(Gurtong edited and posted)-As we prepare to embrace and paying homage to war fallen mates, heroes and heroine, it’s worth noting that Junub independence alone isn’t enough. There is much to get done. It is obvious the above quotation is congruent with what is actually playing out on the ground. We get to this in a moment.
When south got independence on 9th July 2011, most southerners, if not all, were relieved. Seeing our sons and daughters in helm of power, as custodian of our own affairs was something big. Nothing was like it.
Unfortunately, the then happiness is quickly pummelled and dashed off by tsunami of corruption and tradition of paying less attention to issues of urgency. For instance lack of anti-craft rocket, which would have prevented killing of civilians in Bentiu and Panthou during NCP aerial bombardment.
Exasperatingly, the SPLM comrades who I thought would bring hope to hopelessness, would have addressed the issues of nation-building and mend the broken hearts, turned up something no one had ever expected. It is a compunction they will take to grave. They took up arms to fix the so-called deformed system in Khartoum, where we were left out of the loop, where we were marginalised, where we were denied basic infrastructure, where we were denied health service, where there was lack of self-expression and consumption of national resources by few amongst many other things. Why take up the habit you were determined to overhaul?
Thank goodness we have a state, but a state where common citizen are denied and deprived of their rightful right is surely doomed to fail and become a no man’s state. Why the near killing of Deng Athuai and terrorising many other citizens for whom you brought freedom? It shows beyond doubt liberation is yet to happen. My people still haven’t noticed what it is to be a citizen in one’s own country. A right denied them for so long, and the SPLM seems to be denying it the furthest. You have started on a wrong footing and it will cost the party profoundly. If election were held today, the party will lose miserably.
The independence many of us yearned for all these years has just proven not enough. The system is convoluted with wide spread grand corruption consuming the whole nation. Needless to say, it is initiated by the ruling party the SPLM individuals. The SPLM has ruined its reputation nationally and internationally. Why bring freedom and then rob the nation of its meagre resources? Where do you leave our citizens who look up to you here? Unless some miracle happen down the track the SPLM party popularity is tarnished and is going down the drainage.
Surely the SPLM/A managed to break the country into two, but falls short of delivering an equitable service to the people of South Sudan. They are ruling the nation as if they are leaving tomorrow. I have always been a steep supporter of the SPLM/A party given the determination it showed back in the days of revolution struggle, but I am extremely disappointed and betrayed when its splendid corruption hits the World news. Four billion US dollars got smuggled by the few ruling individuals??? I was shocked and couldn’t just believe it. Instead of seizing the opportunity and utilize the $4 billion to build the national scheme so as to meet southerners dire needs, annoyingly, few pocketed it all, leaving the nation rotting in an abject poverty. Is this how we were liberated? I hope not.
As if it wasn’t enough, the burglars didn’t stop there, our men and women who dare to ask for the whereabouts of the money are hunted down and tortured severely. Is this how liberators behave? Absolutely not. These are unusual liberators.
Our common men and women must be allowed to feel at home. They must have the right to question the government which governs them without intimidation. To worsen the case, the president has been contradicting himself on how he approaches the smugglers lately. This leaves me with lingering doubts about my president’s presumption of innocence. He got to stand up for the nation, speak loud and clear who were these men and women who took the chunk of dollars. There is nothing to fear my president. You have more than 8 Million people behind you; the 75 comrades who purloined and siphoned the nation’s money into individual’s account have inflicted shame and insult on the SPLM/A principles. They are no more honourable, they are thugs who deserve their names yell out. You either be with them, or with us. I suggest they must get laid off in the government positions forthwith.
Outrageously, I had a lengthy conversation with a friend of mine in South Sudan who told me a lot of people went back home when independence came. However, they have started going back to refugee camps citing lacks of health services, insecurity, exclusion and lack of schools for their children. For how long will our people be refugees? It is breathtaking thinking you have a home and it turns out those leading the nation are hungry and angry wolves in sheep’s clothing.
Finally, my president, you have to space yourself from the corrupt officials by making sure they are brought to justice and make them to vomit what does not belong to them. As your quote goes, “If the money is eaten by a few, all the rest will go hungry, and a hungry citizen is an angry citizen”. It is in fact the case now. Citizens are frustrated and soon will erupt and spiral out of control unless you act and act now to save your fame.
Secondly, those who nearly murdered Deng Athuai need to be identified immediately or else we in the civil society will always remain knowing your government apparatus did it.
Lastly, the SPLA soldiers who killed Mayol Kuch, the South Sudan-American citizen need to face the law and get contained so they don’t kill another one.
*Butrus Ajak is a concerned South Sudan citizen.